The Packard Eleventh Series V12 epitomizes the essence of American classic automobiles from the early 1930s. In a competitive landscape where leading manufacturers vied for supremacy in the multi-cylinder luxury car market, Packard stood out with its innovative offerings.
Amidst the economic stranglehold of the Great Depression, Cadillac, Auburn, Franklin, Lincoln, and Pierce-Arrow all introduced their own 12-cylinder models. However, Packard’s reputation as the pioneer of the production V12, dating back to the 1916 “Twin Six,” established it as the benchmark for excellence when its 12-cylinder model debuted in 1932.
Featuring a 67° V-block configuration, the Packard V12 boasted the hallmark smooth balance synonymous with the brand. So refined was its operation that distinguishing whether the engine was running or not while idling became a challenge, attesting to Packard’s commitment to engineering excellence.
Yet, amidst Packard’s engineering prowess, the styling of the 1934 models represented a fleeting moment of perfection in a rapidly evolving industry landscape. With changing consumer preferences favoring quieter, smoother rides and drivers seeking vehicles with lighter steering and improved brakes, Packard adapted accordingly.
The once-stately 20″ wheels gave way to smaller 17″ counterparts, while fenders gained skirting to conceal the reduced wheel size. Despite these shifts, Packard managed to seamlessly blend the design elements of earlier 1930-32 era cars with the emerging trends, preserving the elegance of the early 1930s aesthetic.